Michael J. Aldape, Ph.D.
Our group is primarily interested in the effects of antibiotics on growth, sporulation, and virulence factor expression and production by Clostridium difficile, an anaerobic pathogen that causes life-threatening colitis in healthcare facilities worldwide. Recently, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, serious and refractory to standard antimicrobial therapy. Recent work by our group suggests that the mechanisms controlling antibiotic resistance in C. difficile may also regulate increased toxin production following exposure to some antibiotics. Second, Clostridium sordellii, an anaerobic pathogen, causes fatal necrotizing infections in approximately 70% of all cases. C. sordellii infections are typically associated with gynecological procedures (natural childbirth and medically induced abortions) and are distinguished by an extreme leukemoid reaction (LR) where circulating white blood cell (WBC) counts often exceed 100,000/µL of blood. Our laboratory continues to investigate the mechanisms driving the C. sordellii LR and the role of LR development and C. sordellii pathogenesis. Lastly, in collaboration with Dr. Amy Bryant (VA Medical Center, Boise, ID), we are determining effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) on the expression and production of factors associated with muscle regeneration and inflammation following cryptic Group A streptococcus (GAS) infection.